By Joe Moore
Do you (or could you) support yourself on your current writing income?
I belong to an organization called Novelists, Inc. Membership qualifications require at least two books published by a traditional, royalty-paying publisher. NINC conducted a survey of 100 randomly chosen members. All 100 respondents had published a median of sixteen novels apiece in multiple genres with women's fiction/romance (93%), mystery/thriller (24%), and young adult (12%) being the top three. Nine percent of the authors have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list, 19% on the USA Today bestseller list, and 32% on Waldens list. Of the 100 authors surveyed, 10% had a PhD or doctoral degree, 27% a master's, and 35% a bachelor's. Ninety-six percent were female.
It would be easy to assume that all 100 highly educated, highly successful authors were doing well from their writer's income. Right?
One of the 9 questions they were asked was the one above: Do you (or could you) support yourself on your current writing income?
Here’s what they said:
22% -- Yes
9% -- Probably yes
17% -- Probably no
52% -- No
So 31% of the surveyed authors revealed that they were able to support themselves with their writing income. Sixty-nine percent could not. And these are best-selling authors with a median average of 16 books in print.
Are you surprised? Do you make enough money from writing to support yourself and your family? It takes most authors at least a year to write a commercial novel. Is giving up your sleep, TV, family, social life, and everything else you sacrifice as a writer really worth it? Most importantly, if you can’t make a living at it, why do it?
Personally, I love to write. I would do it whether I got paid or not. Would you?